SEPA process is underway for the Shorewood and Shorecrest HS Rebuilds. How does this impact the Shoreline Historical Museum?
photo credit - Vicki Westberg
The process is supposed to assess accurately any environmental impacts or effects from their proposal to rebuild the two High Schools.
But the Shoreline School District is already off on the wrong foot from the get go. They did not give "Legal Notice" as required by the State to the Shoreline Historical Museum, until some citizens and the Museum demanded they receive the notice and SEPA checklist. The district's consultant delivered the packet just two days before the deadline last Monday.
Also, in the SEPA checklist (which is supposed to disclose any adverse effects or environmental impacts, including cultural sites on or near their project site), the District refers to the Ronald Elementary School (which houses and is owned by the museum) as a"site of significance" with no reference to its being a Historic Landmark, recognized by King County Landmarks Commission and WA State.
This directly goes against State SEPA requirements. If a Historic Building is to be moved because of a project, that's an"adverse effect", plain and simple.
The Ronald School is the oldest public building in the Shoreline area, built in 1912. It is also recognized as eligible for the National Registry of Historic Places. It has been the home of the Shoreline Historical Museum since 1976. It is named after Shoreline pioneer, Judge J.T Ronald who donated the property and was a Superior Court Judge for decades and previously Mayor of Seattle.
Judge JT Ronald - Shoreline pioneer and former
Mayor of Seattle
As many folks may be aware, there was a deal struck and "Agreement in Principle" between the Shoreline Historical Museum Board and the Shoreline School District, in good faith. The "deal" included funding and a moving the Ronald School building a short distance to accomadate the new Shorewood HS building. This agreement was struck at the "eleventh hour" before the voting on the Shorewood Levy/Bond last February. Previously, the District had insisted on ignoring the Musuem and Landmark Status of the Ronald School. Museum supporters were relieved at the time and many voted FOR the Bond and Levy in good faith.
The Shoreline Historical Museum Board and others filed comment letters in a timely manner and good faith, despite a very short deadline and lack of pertinent documents availability. The Museum Board asked for an extension on the deadline considering the short turnaround.
Now, the School District, which is serving as it's own SEPA Lead Agency, has decided NOT to grant an extension, saying "From the School District's understanding, the Museum is a tenant under ground lease and not a property owner. Accordingly we must deny your request."
So, they are essentially saying to the Museum again "go take a hike".
It is really so sad that the School District which purportedly values education of history, has no respect for our own caretaker of history. It is so sad that the governmental body which uses the highest proportion of our tax dollars, does not respect the most loyal voters, Museum supporters.
Needless to say, this is not the last word. The Museum will be heard from and the people will too.
YOU can contact the Superintendent of Schools office with your comments on this matter or the School Board at this website.